The Chino

March 05, 2017

The Chino

To all you budding Jack Kerouac's, Richie Cunningham's and Coach Calhoun's - it's Chino time!

Jack Kerouac in Chinos

Here's the low down on the garment and it's origins...

The Khaki colour emerged from the British Raj in India, Sir Harry Lumsden commanded the British Army in the Punjab in 1846. The standard uniform at the time was a red tunic and white trousers - ideal for being shot at! Sir Harry started wearing pyjama bottoms as they were looser fitting in the heat and to disguise them he dyed them with a native plant named Mazari, so they would blend in (camouflage) with the local terrain. They were named Khaki's after the Urdu word meaning dust. The British Army consequently introduced Khaki uniforms to the British colonial troops in India in 1848, and Khaki coloured dye was finally patented in 1884 when many other counties adopted Khaki for their military clothing.

Fast forward to the second world war the US Army military pants - the Chino. So called because they were made in China, the Spanish term for Chinese is Chino. Why did the American's use the Spanish term? Well as a result of the Spanish - American war in 1898 the US acquired the Philippines. As a Spanish colony, many Spanish terms entered the American lexicon after American administration began. The British Khaki had been replicated in China at a lower cost and sold to the American Forces posted in the Philippines. Another cost cutting element was the omission of pleats and a tapered leg, which saved on fabric cost.

The US Chino

Upon the return to the US the soldiers continued to wear their Chinos as civvies, in 1942 Brooks Brothers added a Chino into their range and the chino became a staple of   the preppy look. To further the use of the Chino, jeans were banned in many high schools so they were really the only casual option for the 50's teenage student.

Our Chino is inspired by the M-41 issue Chino with a tapered leg, button fly and fully felled seams. We've added a button to the back left pocket and the fabric is selected as faithful to the original, carefully reproduced at our Mill in Japan. The chino is now available online exclusively here.


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